Wednesday, 29 May 2024
    Empowering Indigenous Businesses: Many Rivers and Origin Energy Unite to Provide Mentorship and Coaching
    originenergy, indigenousbusiness, mentorshipsuccess

    Empowering Indigenous Businesses: Many Rivers and Origin Energy Unite to Provide Mentorship and Coaching

    More is being done to help small Indigenous businesses grow and thrive. Through a program of mentorship delivered by experienced professionals from Origin Energy, Indigenous microbusinesses can learn skills and receive support that will help them strengthen their business operations. 

    The program, currently in the pilot stage, is being developed by Many Rivers, a not-for-profit organisation that supports microenterprise and community economic development, as well as Origin and its Origin Energy Foundation.    

    It was during a longstanding Marketplace project – an initiative to integrate Indigenous and local companies into the supply chains of large Australian companies – that Origin Energy and Many Rivers discovered that one of the barriers that small businesses have faced when landing contracts is capability gaps. 

    In response, the program will address the issue of capability gaps that prevent small businesses from bidding on contracts, and it aims to close the gap by providing education through mentorship from Origin Energy experts. “We’re engaging seasoned professionals across Origin to coach Indigenous business owners in various aspects of their businesses, including health and safety policies, people management, social media marketing, and invoicing,” said Chief Procurement Officer, Nikki Symonds. 

    Origin Social Responsibility Specialist, Matthew Ralph, who conceived the initiative, said, "by enhancing the capabilities of small Indigenous businesses, we're growing the pool of Indigenous businesses that can collaborate with corporations like Origin, which, in turn, benefits the local communities they operate in.” 

    A success story to come out of the pilot project so far is Col Finlay Earthmoving, a Toowoomba-based earthmoving and landscape business. Libby Finlay, Co-Founder, said, “Despite the fact that a lot of small, locally-owned businesses are capable of delivering the work, they are being overlooked by big companies because they are lacking the skills in this area and cannot meet their requirements. I appreciate a company like Origin taking the time to train small business operators in this very important area.” 

    Many Rivers Interim Chief Executive Officer Nathan Hawkins echoes this belief that the program is mutually beneficial. Hawkins tells us, “This project is a great example of the genuine benefits both small businesses and large corporates can realise by working closely together… A company like Origin benefits from building relationships with regional and Indigenous businesses to create a positive impact on communities and offer new opportunities for diverse, ethical, and local procurement.” 

    Watch this space for more to come as the pilot stage will conclude shortly allowing the learnings to be incorporated into an expanded program available to many more Indigenous businesses and communities.   

    Education, support, and well-devised programs could just be the antidote to capability gaps. Once the gap is closed, we at Procurement Australia envision a vibrant future for procurement, where big businesses will be able to partner with a variety of unique small organisations. We are already taking steps to create a diverse marketplace for suppliers and providers, and you can join our community by becoming a member for free. 





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